Retro Bowl Scores in the Hearts of Webb Students


David Hastings

Fictional 5-star running back Cedrick Thomas receives a handoff at the 30-yard line against their rival Cleveland Browns. Webb Schools Retro Bowl players can take their team to the virtual field and compete in a match like this.

You have heard the buzz around campus: Retro Bowl is the talk of the town. This iPhone game has swept across the Webb community, becoming the prime between-class pastime. The game’s retro-style graphics and animations (hence the name Retro Bowl) lend to its uniqueness, accessibility and appeal.

“I play it every day,” Clarence Deng (‘23) said. “If I have time, I’m going to play it. I don’t do homework — I play Retro Bowl.”

New Star Games released Retro Bowl in January 2020. It has only grown since its release, boasting massive popularity worldwide due to its fame on Tik Tok. Videos about the game have helped it reach a larger audience, which is how it reached the Webb community. From there, it spread around campus like wildfire.

“I saw Troy [Seanoa (‘24)] playing it and I decided to download it,” Jordan McCray (‘24) said.

On the AppStore, Retro Bowl has an average of 4.8 out of five stars based on over seven hundred thousand reviews. It is also currently the number one simulation game and is an Editors’ Choice game.

In the game, you can build your team’s ten-man roster with fictitious football players who have ratings from one to five stars. The goal of the game is to create a team with the best players in each position. In general, the players with the most stars are the most successful on the field. Players and coaches can be upgraded to improve the team.

You can play a virtual game of football with this roster, against the computer, where you can control the players to make them throw the ball, dodge defenders, or dive into the endzone. While you can choose to collect both offensive and defensive players, you can only manually control your team’s offense. The success of your defense is left in the hands of the computer, based on your players’ ratings. To succeed in the game, you need strategy and skill.

You cannot play with real-life players in Retro Bowl, but you can choose teams named after real NFL teams and play out full seasons. Each individual game takes around 5 minutes to finish. This means that a full season takes two to three hours to complete.

“I’ve played at least 16 seasons, so I’m a veteran,” Clarence Deng (‘23) said. “I downloaded it three weeks ago.”

While some students play the game on a continuous basis, many others play it more casually to take a break from schoolwork.

“I used to play it a lot more, but now I only play it a couple of

times a week,” Troy Seanoa (‘24) said.

Retro Bowl has formed a community within Webb and has allowed students to connect with new peers. Day students and boarders alike bond over the number of Retro Bowls they have won, or how good their quarterback rating is.

“I think Retro Bowl has had a positive impact on the Webb community because its popularity has made it an icebreaker,” Francesca Lascano (‘23) said. “It is a relaxing game that is easy and quick to play, and it has become somewhat like a stress reliever for everyone.”